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Census count is underway: COVID-19 brings minor timeline changes

LAPLACE – For the first time, the U.S. Census can be completed via a smartphone, tablet or computer. Responses can also be submitted by mail or by phone to gauge an accurate count to citizens.

The Census count will impact every aspect of the St. John the Baptist Parish community for the next 10 years, determining funding for road repairs, schools, transportation, emergency services and other services for local families. It’s an easy way to ensure every person’s voice is heard, according to St. John Parish communications.

Census counts are also used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

The 2020 U.S. Census schedule has been somewhat modified to accommodate the ongoing COVID-19 response. According to a press release from the Census Bureau, changes have been put in place to, “protect the health and safety of Census Bureau employees and the American public; implement guidance from federal, state, and local health authorities; and ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities.”

The self-response phase deadline (online, phone and mail) has been extended from July 31 to August 14.

All homes should have received mail notification of the U.S. Census prior to April 1.

Starting in May, workers hired by the Census Bureau are projected to visit the homes of people who have not completed the Census online or via paper form. Residents who do not want an in-person visit should complete their Census forms before May.

The early non-response follow-period, originally scheduled for April 9-July 31, has been delayed to May 7 to Aug. 14 due to the coronavirus.

The non-response follow-up and re-interview period originally scheduled for May 13-July 31 has been rescheduled to May 28-Aug. 14.

The Census Bureau reported it remains on track to deliver apportionment counts to the president by Dec. 31, 2020.

One person should respond to the Census for each household. That person must be at least 15 years old and live in the residence.

Questions deal with age, sex and ethnicity of the people living in the residence as of April 1, 2020.

The Census takes only about 10 minutes to complete. For reference, completing the Census requires less than ¼ of the time it would take watch one episode of a typical Netflix show.

Respond today at 2020census.gov.

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